Thursday, January 21, 2010

American Conservative Politics

There might once have been a day when American conservatives were a noble group. A group that might at times had a point, that had principles and morals. And I'm sure there are a few of those out still.

However, most of conservative politics seems hell bent on destroying our country. Reasonable people can disagree on what's governments roll in society. But the present "shrink government so small you can drown it in the bathtub" attitude makes no sense.

There are services that clearly must be done by government. If there is a fire, what if you called 911 and got a: how many ladder trucks do you want: they're $1000 each to send, plus $3000/hr with three fire fighters each? Of course not. Just like no liberal really wants to see a nationalized company take over MP3 makers: I think we can also agree that a "Soviet iPod" might not work as well as Apple's.

But it is incontrovertible that some aspects of the private sector simply don't function correctly. Health care is a prime example. For those who have insurance, it is incredibly expensive, especially for those who actually need it (the older, sicker population.) Waiting times are often long even for those with insurance, and care can be substandard regardless. The state with the best outcomes and longest life expectancy in the US is the only state that managed to get an exemption and require employer mandates in the 1970s.

When we look around the world, the only places anybody would choose to live as a "normal citizen" (not a rich foreigner, prince, or member of a small upper class) would only include countries where government plays a big role in health care. Conservatives: would you really prefer to get your health care in France or some place where the government has already been drowned in the bath tub like Somalia? The answer is obvious. But if less government is such a great idea, where in the world is there an example of a good health care system with little or no government intervention?

Currently the best places in terms of outcomes include the rich industrialized countries (much of Europe, Japan, Canada.) The US ranks in one notch above Slovenia and two notches above Cuba. Not much to be proud of for such a rich nation.

Unfortunately for our citizens, there is a lot of money to be made selling insurance and keeping people paying more for less. And so long as right wing Democrats and all Republicans need to prove government can't work for ideological reasons, we are doomed to some form of our present "system": expensive, inefficient, and painful as it may be.

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